Saturday, July 14, 2012

Peaches n' Cream Scones


I so relate to Molly's recent post about the kindness of strangers and how she'll miss being "the pregnant lady." This may seem odd, as mostly you hear from women who can't wait to get the whole pregnancy thing done with. But it rang true with me- a certain part of me will miss not being pregnant when these last weeks are over.

Don't get me wrong- I'm definitely impatient to meet Ruby and I'm so ready to sleep on my stomach again, to not get winded when I climb stairs, and not be so ginormous. Fortunately, I've had a relatively easy pregnancy and only recently entered the uncomfortable stage. And even now, it's not so bad. It's just been a little hard for me to accept that I have to slow down no matter how many items remain on my to-do list for the day.

What I will most miss is when I first started looking obviously pregnant but was still getting around well and had gobs of energy to burn- and the excitement that set in as I felt Ruby kicking routinely and it hit me that, whoa, we're actually having a baby!

I'll miss being stopped by random women offering their congratulations and sweet compliments on how happy they are for me and how well I'm doing. The community that women feel toward mothers and how supportive and protective they are has been amazing. This phenomenon needs more press, especially in light of all the "Mommy Wars" news articles that have circulated recently. For awhile I thought maybe it was just unique to me and I felt incredibly lucky to be the beneficiary of such good will. I kind of assumed that since I'm an older mother, maybe women were going out of their way to encourage me. I'm so glad to hear other women have had the same experience.

One of the best moments thus far involved an encounter with an older lady in the perfume aisle at Neiman Marcus. Mom was in town and we had dressed up for an afternoon of shopping to escape the house. This kind lady stopped me to tell me I was glowing (I know, so stereotypical but still really, really sweet) and to remind me what a blessing I was experiencing and to enjoy every minute of it. She told me she had trouble conceiving for years and when she finally got pregnant with her daughter, she celebrated every milestone, good or bad. She was thankful for every bout of nausea as well as every ticklish, fluttering kick; she was even thankful for each stretch mark. I distinctly remember thinking, this lady really has life figured out and I'm so glad she wandered into mine to open my eyes.

I try to remember her wise words when I get aggravated at my huge belly getting in the way when I bend over or when I can't find a comfortable position to sleep in. She's right, I've been incredibly blessed and I am so, so thankful.

I just wanted to share that, mostly to remind myself, but also to express my appreciation to all the women who've been so wonderful to me. Thanks to each and every one of you who've reached out.

And, oh yeah, I made scones...
Peaches n’ Cream Scones
adapted from a Culinary Institute of America recipe

At an introductory baking course I completed at the Napa campus of the Culinary Institute of America, we were taught a basic scone recipe and then turned loose to elaborate and adapt upon it to our hearts’ content. I’ve kept at it and have made many versions of the base recipe over the years but this roasted peach rendition with pecans and a drizzled sweetened cream topping is both a stand out and a favorite. After trying a couple of iterations with fresh fruit that didn’t meet muster, my husband suggested roasting the peaches to enhance their flavor and to reduce the water content, which can cause issues when baking. His suggestion was right on target. I call him Le Chef because he can be kind of bossy when we cook together but then again, it’s nice to have a professional in the house when I have a cooking question.


Scones
6-8 whole, medium sized peaches, diced (3 ounces, pitted)
15 ounces all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon + 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/2 ounces sugar
2 ounces pecans, chopped
16 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 – 2 tablespoons milk, optional
decorative sugar for sprinkling, optional

Topping
2 cups confectioners' sugar
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


1. Roast the diced peaches on a baking sheet at 250° Fahrenheit for 1-2 hours. Start checking at the 1 hour mark. When done, the peaches should have a reduced water content but not be completely dried. Set aside to cool.
2. To make the scones, add the flour, baking powder, and sugar to a large bowl and whisk or stir to mix. Add the pecans and roasted, diced peaches and then add the cream and mix until just combined.
3. On a lightly floured surface, pat the scone dough out to an even thickness and use a biscuit or cookie cutter to cut rounds. Place the rounds on a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
4. Brush the scones with milk and top with decorative or coarse sugar, if desired. Bake at 375° Fahrenheit for 15-16 minutes, turning midway through. Remove to a rack to cool.
5. While the scones are cooling, make the topping. Add the confectioners' sugar and a pinch of salt to a medium sized bowl. Add the cream, a tablespoon at a time, and whisk to mix. You may add more or less cream depending on the desired thickness of the topping.